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Unveiling the Benefits of Palliative Care

Palliative care is a specialized medical care that aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing serious illnesses, regardless of their age, prognosis, disease stage, or treatment choice. Palliative care helps manage the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual stressors associated with serious illness. It utilizes an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains to assess and manage the symptoms and stressors associated with serious illness. Palliative care can be provided early and throughout the illness, together with life-prolonging or curative treatments. It is not just for people at the end of life, but for anyone experiencing a serious medical problem causing physical or emotional distress.

 Palliative care can offer symptom management, psychosocial and emotional support, resources for the family, and planning for the future. Palliative care is not the same as hospice care, although the overarching philosophy is similar. Hospice care is provided to patients near the end of life, with a high risk of dying in the next six months and who will no longer benefit from or have chosen to forego further disease-directed treatments. Palliative care is available to all patients with serious illness, and it can be provided throughout the course of an illness and across health care settings. If you or a loved one is living with serious illness, ask your primary or specialty care doctor for a palliative care referral. Palliative care services can help you or your loved one live well.

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